I have this theory that you really see the true stripes of someone when they're drunk. If a person who's normally mild-mannered turns into a raving loon, AKA a mad drunk, then I think that when the chips are down and he's in a stressful position that's the guy that will blow a gasket. To me that same theory holds true for people who comment on news stories online. Even if they're normally civil in the real world their true personalities come through in the comments they drop all over the online world as they hide behind their computer screens.
What reminded me of this most recently were the comments left by multiple readers on the Winston-Salem Journal story about the latest census figures showing that only 45% of households in Forsyth County are headed by married couples. The story also broke down the racial demographics and contained information like the following:
Among black residents, only 27 percent of households are headed by a husband and wife. About half of the black children in Forsyth County live in homes headed by only their mothers, with another 20 percent being raised by grandparents, fathers, and other relatives.
"I don't think it is a good trend," said Forsyth County Commissioner Walter Marshall, who is black. "I guess the new generation just does not believe in marriage. There are so many things involved."
Marshall said that black males too often find themselves "not marriageable," due to high incarceration rates, unemployment and lack of education.
"Young black ladies will tell you that they want to be married, but they don't want to marry at any cost,"Marshall said. "They don't marry much; they just stay together."
The 2010 census showed that 73 percent of white children were growing up in two-parent homes, and 57 percent of Hispanic children were doing so.
You can guess what kind of comments have been posted and I have to say that with every passing day I become less and less surprised at how petty and mean people can be, especially when they don't even have to have the balls to be mean to someone's face.
BTW I'm also getting really frickin' tired of people equating marriage with some kind of magic silver bullet for lifelong happiness. I'm fairly sure studies have shown that growing up in a stable two parent environment increases the chances that a child will grow up to lead a happy, stable life, but I'm quite sure that marriage isn't a prerequisite for having a stable two parent environment. I'm also certain that there are more than a few households that are dens of misery and headed by married people, and that there are single parent households that are dens of happiness. In short, marriage is a traditional form of cohabitation and household building that is declining in popularity and that has caused some people with traditional values to get their panties in a twist. Personally I think we should worry less about the institution of marriage and more about helping people understand how to build a happy household and raise well adjusted members of society.
For the record I'm happily married to a woman I can't believe has put of with me for as long as she has. We're closing in on 20 years of marriage and 23 years of just plain digging each other, and I have no doubt I'd feel the same way about her if I was labeled her husband, her housemate or her biggest mistake. The latter is how many people think of me.